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NEWSLETTERRussia’s bid to rise in university rankings, improve competitiveness
In World Blog, Rahul Choudaha and Eduardo Contreras argue that more attention needs to be paid to measuring the outcomes of higher education internationalisation. In Commentary, Oleg Alekseev tracks Russia’s ambitious reforms aimed at boosting the global competitiveness of its universities.
Peter Williams describes a Review of Reviews of quality assurance in Irish higher education that highlighted the importance of clarity of purpose. Meeta Sengupta contends that questions around autonomy have been raised by the battle between Delhi University and India’s University Grants Commission over four-year degrees.
In Africa, Damtew Teferra writes that higher education is being perilously marginalised in the post-2015 development agenda, and Charmaine Williamson finds South Africa tantalised and daunted by the prospect of participating in Europe’s Horizon 2020 research programme.
Romina Müller writes that universities need to make it easier for non-traditional students to get the qualifications they need at any point in their lives.
In the first of a series of articles leading up to the Talloires Network Leaders Conference, we find that internationalisation is strengthening university civic engagement and social responsibility work.
In Features, Jane Marshall outlines an OECD review of French innovation policies, which proposes a greater role for universities. Makki Marseilles reports on the continuing political row over how many administrative staff Greek universities need. And Wachira Kigotho and Wagdy Sawahel look at entrepreneurship education in Africa.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
An official of the University Grants Commission, India’s higher education regulatory and funding body, has openly admitted that political pressure from the country’s newly elected government was behind the move to scrap four-year undergraduate degrees at Delhi University, which attracts the country’s brightest students.
SRI LANKADinesh De Alwis
In the last four years suppression of Sri Lankan students has been at its highest since the 1990s Marxist insurgency which left many students dead, according to a report released last week by student and human rights groups.
The European Court of Justice has ruled that sanctions against Iran's Sharif University of Technology should be lifted because of lack of evidence from the European Union that the university is involved in Iran's nuclear energy programme, which Western countries claim is aimed at producing weapons of mass destruction.
The five East African Community member countries have taken the biggest step yet towards harmonising higher education by crafting a draft credit transfer system and a qualifications model. The new qualifications system – which awaits several approvals before being rolled out – means Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda will harmonise the courses offered in their universities.
The business sector should be more involved in designing higher education curricula and universities should work more closely with industry partners to promote entrepreneurship, mobility between business and academia and lifelong learning. There should also be more assessment and better monitoring of university-business collaborations and programmes.
Executive business degrees have traditionally been a money-spinner for China’s universities, charging high fees. But this year has seen a sharp drop in applications as an ongoing government anti-corruption campaign has curbed funding for officials eligible for the courses.
The United Nations Environment Programme has produced a 50-hour masters module climate change MOOC – massive open online course – that will be taught through the Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability and is expected to reach a large global audience.
South Africa has reportedly been selected to host the southern, space sciences node of the Pan African University – after initial rejection, a five-year wait and much politicking. But the African Union Commission has not yet been officially informed.
CÔTE D’IVOIREJane Marshall
With the need for Côte d’Ivoire to rebuild its higher education and research system following violent crises that closed public universities for two years, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has asked the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie to lead a project to modernise and reform the system.
Tunisian Prime Minister Mehdi Jomâa has called for the construction of a new campus for Zitouna University to be speeded up, to allow for the education of an elite in Islamic civilisation.
TALLOIRES NETWORK 2014
The global Talloires Network of engaged universities is holding its next leaders conference in Cape Town in December. University World News is the media partner. This is the first in a series of articles on civic engagement and social responsibility issues of significant interest to higher education globally.
Growing numbers of university leaders worldwide are seeing community engagement as a central priority, says Professor Robert M Hollister, executive director of the Talloires Network – a global coalition of universities committed to moving beyond the ivory tower. Rather than distracting from engagement, internationalisation is “dramatically reinforcing and accelerating that trend, through people learning from and influencing one another’s work”.
France’s research and innovation programme to 2020 is taking the right general approach but is too complex, and universities should play a greater role alongside the powerful national research organisations. These are among the findings of a review of French innovation policies by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Four top officials – the education secretary and the administrative reform minister, the deputy prime minister and the prime minister himself – are arguing over how many administrative staff Greece’s universities need in order to operate properly and efficiently. Are universities themselves not in the best position to decide how many staff they need? Emphatically no, says the government.
A new World Bank report has identified entrepreneurship education and training as a catalyst that could stimulate innovation and generate jobs among university graduates, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa where graduate unemployment rates are high. The burning question is whether entrepreneurship can actually be taught.
NORTH AFRICAWagdy Sawahel
The Arab world, and especially North Africa, has been late in joining the ‘entrepreneurial’ movement in higher education, which strives to enhance youth and graduate employment and provide young people with the knowledge and skills to start their own businesses. This is the conclusion of a recent report on Reforming the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in Post-Revolutionary Egypt and Tunisia.
UNITED STATESPaul Voosen, The Chronicle of Higher Education
It was a remarkable result. By manipulating the news feeds of thousands of Facebook users, without their knowing consent, researchers working with the goliath of social media found that they could spur a significant, if small, effect on people’s behaviour in the world beyond bits.
GLOBALRahul Choudaha and Eduardo Contreras
Internationalisation of higher education would be more successful if it took account of the local context, was aligned to institutional missions and if more attention was paid to measuring its outcomes.
Russia’s plan to improve its universities’ global competitiveness is ambitious and is making some headway. But universities need to engage staff and students more to make greater progress.
A recent Review of Reviews of quality assurance in Irish higher education recommends that it needs to be clear first about what the aims are and who benefits from the process. If there is clarity about purpose, the review could mark the end of the old era of Irish higher education and open a door to new possibilities.
A battle between Delhi University and India’s University Grants Commission over four-year degree programmes raises questions about university autonomy and innovation.
The alarming news emanating from the conversation on the post-2015 development agenda is that it may – as in the current Millennium Development Goals – perilously marginalise higher education from the priority it deserves in the highly anticipated development blueprint.
South Africa qualifies as a so-called ‘third country’ to be an eligible recipient of Horizon 2020 funding and programmes. In ‘piggy-back’ pursuit of its own renditions of industrial leadership, excellent science and responses to societal challenges, South Africa finds itself both tantalised and daunted by this ground-breaking and wealthy instrument.
AFRICAPatrício V Langa and Gerald Wangenge-Ouma
We contest the logic that higher education in Africa is a secondary investment priority: it is crucial for Africa’s development. But the conditions under which tertiary education operates in many African countries are not conducive to it making a useful contribution to development through the key pathways of research and innovation.
Universities need to come down from the ivory tower and make it easier for students who have not trodden the traditional pathway to higher education to get the qualifications they need at any point in their lives.
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Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militants and Iraqi government forces reportedly clashed last week on the campus of Tikrit University, one of several major public universities in Iraq – along with the universities of Anbar and Mosul – writes Elizabeth Redden for Inside Higher Ed.
Oxbridge and other elite British universities are opposing attempts by the OECD to introduce PISA-style tests to compare students from higher education institutions around the world, according to a top official at the developed nations’ body, writes Helen Warrell for the Financial Times.
Up to 100,000 students a year now use dozens of shady companies to produce bespoke pieces of work guaranteed to secure high marks, write Simon Wright and Colin Cortbus for the Daily Mirror.
Arguing that free speech is being stifled at college campuses across the United States, a Philadelphia-based advocacy group last week filed lawsuits against four universities, seeking to force the schools to revise policies that the group says restrict some forms of speech, writes Jennifer Medina for The New York Times.
Peru has finally approved a New University Law, after two years of debate in the education committee and more than 15 years in parliament, the president of the National Congress announced, reports Andina.
At least eight universities, including four public institutions, have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for Hillary Rodham Clinton to speak on their campuses during the past year, sparking a backlash from some student groups and teachers at a time of austerity in higher education, writes Philip Rucker for The Washington Post.
Opposition lawmakers in South Korea stepped up their offensive last week against Education Minister-designate Kim Myung-soo, and further accused him of misconduct during his teaching years, reports The Korea Herald.
A Serbian minister stands accused of plagiarism and his mentor appears to have lied about having a doctorate, in twin scandals that have cast a long shadow over the Balkan nation’s ivory tower, reports AFP.
Professor Datuk Dr Mohammad Redzuan Othman's tenure was not extended after a transparent election process, University of Malaya has said in a statement. Last week the university denied allegations that its dean of the faculty of arts and social sciences was removed due to political interference, reports The Malaysian Insider.
A proposed law that would allow the privately run Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland to call itself a university has sparked controversy, writes Katherine Donnelly for the Irish Independent.
With the referendum on Scottish independence less than three months away, the biggest higher education battleground has been over whether a separate Scotland would be allowed to continue charging English students tuition fees under European Union law – and if not whether this could lead to a flood of English ‘fee refugees’ heading north of the border, writes David Matthews for Times Higher Education.
South African universities have seen a surge in applications to study law which they are attributing in part to the national obsession with the Oscar Pistorius trial, writes Aislinn Laing for The Telegraph.
North West University will introduce a compulsory human rights course for all students and has banned all initiation rituals on its campuses, writes Tebogo Monama for the Pretoria News.
The Canadian Association of University Teachers has taken on the case of Capilano University art instructor George Rammell, whose protest art was seized by the university administration last month, writes Brent Richter for North Shore News.
The secretary-general of the Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, Professor Michael Faborode, last week urged universities to be more strict on plagiarism, especially among postgraduate students, reports the Nigerian Bulletin.
The Australian government's plan to deregulate universities is "a crime" and the move for co-payments for medical services is "absurd" in the view of visiting Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, writes Peter Martin for The Sydney Morning Herald.
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